Cricket: Williamson shows his special qualities

By David Leggat

He's a gem, that Kane Williamson.

His fine century, 118 off 128 balls at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla, gave New Zealand just enough runs to hold off India and put themselves on the board for the first time on tour.

It was his eighth ODI century, level with Stephen Fleming and with only Nathan Astle (16), Ross Taylor (15) and Martin Guptill (10) ahead of him. Give him time.

Williamson was sketchy through the first few overs, playing and missing outside off, chasing runs as opposed to being especially patient. He was dropped twice too, so you couldn't call it his finest innings by a long chalk.

But it was still a terrific performance when his team badly needed a lift, clearly battling fatigue, and a problem with his left arm.

He is a special player. Even Sunil Gavaskar was moved to say "It is a joy to watch the New Zealand skipper bat".

This was around the time Gavaskar got angry at all the water stops the New Zealand batsmen were taking, claiming players in his day had a drink every two hours at the scheduled breaks. A ridiculous comment.

Williamson is now in elite company, averaging over 50 in ODIs away from home. He is going at 50.82, a fabulous achievement.

New Zealand's tail failed to wag, but they felt they had enough runs on a pitch known not to be a 320 vs 310 strip, and so it proved.

The bowlers worked hard and Tim Southee managed a spectacular catch off his own bowling, to remove MS Dhoni, changing direction and clutching the ball low to his right in a fine piece of athleticism.

It wasn't in the league of Shane Bond's wonder take off Cameron White in Wellington in 2007. If you saw that you'll always remember it.

Then Southee was on the job in the final over, 10 needed, when he yorked Jasprit Bumrah, in a case of the biter being bitten, Bumrah having done precisely the same to Southee about three hours earlier.

Add in the bizarre over from Guptill, a 10-baller including four wides and two wickets, and it was a game full of interesting moments.

Most significantly it was a win for New Zealand, and right now they'll take them any way they can.

It has breathed fresh life into a tour which was going down the pan.

Five games, five lost tosses though. Some things don't change.

Evidently Williamson - and Taylor, filling in in the second test - had called tails in four straight tosses and lost.

Last night, according to the commentator Ravi Shastri, Williamson called heads, and still got it wrong.

On to Mohali and a chance to get their nose in front in game three of the five-match ODI series.

Now after all that's gone on so far on tour, that would mark a significant moment on the trip.

- NZ Herald

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